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Help me spend money: microscopes & loupes

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Okay, I am doing BFSU2 now, and I'm trying to choose a microscope. (Or even a microscope for the house plus something for the field.)


I'd like to stay below $150-175 total. Keep in mind if I spend less on a microscope, I might be able to pick up a telescope, which I personally would love more, even though I think the kids will like the microscope better.


I know my littles will want to look as well, so nothing fragile. We are also going camping in Nevada this spring (limited electricity) and I'd like something to bring with us.


So I could get a compound/fancy microscope - I noticed this one and this one mentioned on the forums. They are 40X or more. They are sub $130.


I've read about the Brock and it seems they are going used for $30-50 on ebay. I know it's not as easy to adjust and has no light built in. But that also means we should be able to take it to the pond if we want to, right? Amazon says they are up to 20X (I am unclear on if this is stock, or with additional hardware).


I also remember seeing these pocket microscopes mentioned, they are very reasonable & fun looking - I could probably get more than one. It's supposed to be 20X-40X.


We've used loupes before, and I want to buy a few more, probably from The Private Eye. They are 5X, and can be nested for 10X.


(1) Dumb question: are all these X's the same? So I had a 10X loupes, does that mean whatever I looked at would be twice as detailed with a Brock, and 4 times or more as detailed with a 'real' microscope? Or is it exponetial / some other formula? (No, I haven't used a microscope often!)


(2) If you could pick one (has to work for BFSU2), which would it be?


(3) If you were buying one of the big microscopes, which of the other three would you buy for the field (1 brock, 2 pocket microscopes, loupes for everyone, or something else)?


Thank you for reading this far. :p

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I don't know about the big microscope, but for the field, I vote loupes! Those Private Eye ones are nearly indistructible, cheap, and do give a really clear and easy to use image. Seriously, since we got ours I often find myself reaching for a Private Eye loupe instead of my work loupe which cost 10 times more. Be sure to get the lanyards for everyone so you can hang them around your neck on a hike. So light and easy to bring, they will probably be used a lot more than a brock or pocket microscope. Have fun!

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The magnification for the first two microscopes you linked are 1000x and 500x, respectively. The first microscope has tungsten lighting, which isn't very desirable because of the heat buildup and the quality of the light. Amscope has a cordless LED version of that same microscope here. With led, you have no heat buildup and the quality of light is better. The Celestron is supposed to be pretty good, and it has a mechanical stage, which makes viewing/scanning much easier than plain stage clips. However, the eyepieces it comes with are not widefield, which makes for less comfortable viewing. You can purchase widefield eyepieces, either 10x or 15x at Home Science tools -- they are not expensive -- to replace the ones that come with the Celestron. Both of those microscopes should last you through high school -- with the first one having an oil immersion lens (the 100x objective), which is for more advanced work. You can always add a mechanical stage to the Amscope, but the built-in one on the Celestron is nicer than an add-on. The AmScope's 100x objective is not really useful without oil, and that is a more advanced technique that you probably won't use until later years, I imagine. So, I guess it just depends on what you want.


I know nothing about the other scopes you talk about, although I've heard good things about the Brock.

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